Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler??(FP)

Barbados and the rest of the Caribbean need to determine the best type of family structure that is allowed to exist in society.

This observation was made yesterday by Minister of Social Care, Christopher Sinckler, while speaking at the launch of Barbadian sociologist, Lloyd Springer’s book "Fatherhood in the Neighbourhood" at the Warrens Office Complex.

Noting that the female-headed households had become a dominant feature in the Caribbean and the role of males in many families had become marginalised, he said we had not "seriously tackled what type of family is best for us, or the family that we want to see in our society."

Mr. Sinckler opined: "We have a structure that is ill-defined and, in many ways, it is unmanageable.?? I think in order for us to get to the root of why our fathers or men have been marginalised in the context of that, we need to seriously re-examine and for ourselves determine what is the appropriate family structure in Barbados and the Caribbean.

"To do otherwise, I think would be a clear and distinct failure in our responsibility to build our nation, because family building is really nation building. To be able to begin that seminal work, we have to look at our re-culturalisation within the society. We often say, but we don’t put a sufficiently high value on how foreign influences have determined, in a certain way, the cultural practices that we have," he stated.

Citing some instances where Caribbean people had begun to take on the practices of other cultures, Minister Sinckler said re-culturalisation had to take place because we were imitating values that were foreign to our own existence.

The Social Care Minister also pointed to the need to redefine what "maleness" represents because, according to him, "males either through their own actions or by the breakdown in the institutional and cultural structures in society have become emasculated and they are really less than they ought to be within society."??

Noting the work that was being done by the Men’s Educational Support Association (MESA) on the role of fathers and the need for them to play a more central part in society, he hoped those efforts and "Fatherhood in the Neighbourhood" would restore the pride of males.??

"If we don’t address these issues, we are going to have consistent problems with what we are seeing coming across. I think that type of self-actualisation is critical to what we want to do, and my hope is that this excellent work, with its empirical investigation, by speaking directly to people who are affected, can begin that process for reconstituting the family as a critical institution within our society," Mr. Sinckler stated.????

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